Ben Cousins, general manager of Ngmoco, recently gave a keynote at GDC Taipei where he offered his predictions on the five big trends in the game industry across the next 5-10 years. One of the big trends that will change the industry will be freemium and mobile, according to Cousins. In his keynote he claims that the combination of mobile and freemium games will ultimately kill off the home console.
"When I'm talking about mobile, I'm talking about the operating system, not the device," he says. "I believe these operating systems will start to appear in other classes of devices, other than just mobile phones and tablets. In the future I think mobile gaming maybe won't be so mobile, and we may need a new definition for them."
And when he says kill he means dead.. like the insects in the RAID commercials.
"There's a potential for mobile gaming to kill console gaming," he says. "I'm talking about a significant reduction of market share with no chance of return."
He claims this could happen when sales drop "because a new product or a new class of product enters the market, and expands the market so much that your marketshare shrinks."
He goes on to say that "sometime during the next console generation" revenues and marketshare for games will be larger in the mobile space than for consoles on a global basis.
Of course he is not taking into account streaming game services such as Gaikai and OnLive. These services hope to someday be on every possible platform including mobile devices and we do not quite know what their long-term impact will be on various platforms. When gamers can play games like Diablo III and Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty on any device in the house, this will change the industry for better or worse.
You can read the rest of Cousin's prognostications in this Gamasutra feature.